Step into the dynamic world of web design and learn the multifaceted skillsets necessary to thrive in this career. Discover the technical and soft skills that hiring managers will be looking for in candidates, from proficiency in graphic design tools like Figma to coding abilities, and from creativity to deadline management.

Key Insights

  • Becoming a successful Web Designer requires mastering a variety of skillsets including technical tools like Figma and coding abilities in languages such as HTML/CSS and JavaScript.
  • Web Designers often need to demonstrate prowess in graphic design tools, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, for creating visually engaging web assets.
  • Understanding User Experience (UX) design sets a Web Designer apart from the crowd, adding value to their role in creating accessible and user-friendly digital platforms.
  • Soft skills such as creative thinking, attention to deadlines, and the ability to handle criticism constructively are indispensable for functioning effectively in a design studio environment.
  • Web Developers and UX Designers are career paths that require similar skills to a Web Designer, with more specialized focus on technical or user behavior aspects respectively.
  • Noble Desktop offers a variety of professional training programs to help aspiring Web Designers develop necessary skills. These include certificate programs, bootcamps, individual courses, and even career mentoring assistance.

Web Designer Skills: What You Need to Become a Web Designer

Simply being trained in web design isn’t enough to ensure that you are able to find a job. Candidates will need to use their portfolios, cover letters, and resumes to demonstrate a fairly varied skill set to hiring managers. Not only will they need to display that they have sufficient technical skills in web design tools like Figma, but they will also need to demonstrate skills such as coding and graphic design proficiency. Plus, they’ll need to be able to demonstrate that they possess a number of different soft skills that are important for design studio work.

Some of these skills will be technical skills that you learn in a professional training program, and you’ll demonstrate these skills in your portfolio and resume. Other skills will be creative design skills since it isn’t enough to know how to use a tool, rather, you need to demonstrate that you can use it well. Aspiring designers will also need to demonstrate technical coding skills, though this may often be in the form of a technical skills interview.

What is a Web Designer?

Web Designers are creative professionals who are tasked with designing the layout and assets for webpages and mobile applications. They are creative professionals who are responsible for designing evocative and visually appealing web designs for their clients, and they will work on a diverse range of different projects. They tend to be well-rounded creatives who use both creative software applications and programming knowledge to design and build web applications. Using software applications such as Figma or Adobe XD, web designers will construct the appearance and feel of both the visual and functional elements of a webpage before handing that design off to web developers who will make the design a reality. At smaller firms, a Web Designer may also be expected to work on the programming side of a web design project, so most Web Designers learn the basics of HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

Web designers are most commonly employed by design firms that contract their service to clients, though many work as self-employed freelancers or work in-house for large businesses that are regularly building or updating web applications. They will most frequently work as part of large teams of designers and developers when working on large projects, but they may also find themselves working on individual smaller assignments, particularly if they are working as freelancers. Web Designers may specialize in working on specific elements or aspects of webpages or digital applications, such as building user interfaces or working on the tactile elements of a webpage to build a positive user experience.

Hard Skills

There is a great deal of different technical skills that Web Designers should know before they enter the job market. 

UI Design Tools

Web Design Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Among the most important design skills for prospective Web Designers is the ability to use an interface design tool like Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD. These programs allow users to build wireframe designs and interactive prototypes of sample webpages, which is vital to the planning and pre-production stages of a design project. It is also important for iterative design processes since the tools allow designers to live-test their prototypes and respond to user feedback.

In most cases, using these tools requires supplemental training, but learning a UI tool is a necessary first step. Since Adobe recently acquired Figma, the choice of what program to learn is slightly more complicated. Figma is the deepest tool, and it is still currently free to use, but that may change if Adobe rolls it into their Creative Cloud. Adobe XD is the most versatile application for interactive testing and prototyping, but the future of the program is in flux. Sketch is a solid alternative program that is designed for dedicated iOS use, meaning that Mac users may prefer to learn this program.

Graphic Design Tools

Many Web Designers will need to be trained in using graphic design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign to build visual assets for the web projects that they work on. These tools are designed to allow users to manipulate photos or create vector graphics designs to be added to a completed web design project. Some Web Designers will specialize in the use of these tools and combine them with tools like Figma and coding languages like JavaScript to turn asset design ideas into functional realities.

Most training programs offer a few ways to learn these skills. For example, by enrolling at Noble, students can either learn these skills separately in the Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp, Adobe InDesign Bootcamp, and Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp. These courses offer students directed skills training in these important areas, ensuring that they have an understanding of the programs and their advanced functions. Students can also learn all three programs by enrolling in the UI Design Certificate program, during which they will also receive training in Figma.

Computer Programming

Many Web Designers will be expected to have a familiarity with basic computer programming skills for webpages. This will likely mean learning HTML/CSS and JavaScript. HTML/CSS are the two foundational languages that modern webpages run upon. HTML tells the browser how to display elements of the page, and CSS tells the browser how to style them and how to communicate things like fonts and text size. These are basic languages, and most modern webpages use additional programming languages like JavaScript to add more complex, interactive functionalities to their web designs.

HTML/CSS and JavaScript are considered among the best first programming languages to learn since they are fairly straightforward and versatile. Thus, many HTML/CSS, such as Noble’s Web Development with HTML/CSS course, have no prerequisites. Many dedicated JavaScript classes, like Noble’s JavaScript for Front-End class, expect students to know the basics of HTML/CSS. Other courses, like Noble’s Front End Web Development Certificate courses, cover all of the primary programming languages you’ll need to know to work as a Web Designer. 

User Experience Design Skills

While not strictly required for all web design jobs, learning the basics of User Experience design will both set you apart from other job candidates and set you up for long-term success as a UX Designer. UX Design skills are research-oriented skills that emphasize testing and understanding how users behave when they actually interact with a given piece of software. This is important because as much as designers would like users to behave exactly as they are intended, this is not the case. Thus, UX Designers are employed to address this disconnect and to make sure that a given webpage or digital application is as accessible and user-friendly as possible.

UX Design skills often overlap with UI Design skills and basic web coding skills. Since UX Design is more a philosophy and a research methodology than a toolkit, these skills are often taught alongside the more technical toolkits of other skills. For instance, Noble offers a UX Design Foundations course where students will learn the basic principles and philosophies of designing for the user experience. Students looking to pair this with technical training may want to consider Noble’s UX/UI Design Certificate, which teaches students how to use tools like Figma and Illustrator to build web prototypes that they will test using their UX Design skills. 

Soft Skills

Web Designers will also need to demonstrate that they possess a number of important soft skills that are essential for working in a fast-paced design studio.

Creative Skills

No matter how proficient you are with the tools involved in web design, it won’t be of any use if you don’t have the creative background required to make use of those tools. This will involve a lot of training in theories of design, composition, and visual communication. You’ll need to demonstrate that you keep up with the latest trends in design circles and demonstrate an ability to make creative decisions quickly and deliberately.

Attention to Deadlines

In almost all cases, the projects that Web Designers work on will be structured around fairly strict deadlines that you’ll need to meet in order to avoid a logjam down the line, everyone working on the same project will need to be attentive to meeting deadlines and producing work that comes in on time. If everyone on a project isn’t on the same page, then the whole process will grind to a halt, and every other member of the team will need to work hard to compensate in order to get the project back on track.

Responding to Criticism

It is important that Web Designers be able to react and respond to criticism and feedback on their work. Many web design projects are simple assignments that are handed off to a designer in order to meet the needs of a client. These projects will need to be designed to fairly tight specifications, and designers will need to be able to listen to clients' and managers’ feedback on their work and make alterations to the work, even if they don’t necessarily agree with the decision in question. Learning how to separate yourself from the work is an important aspect of working at a big design firm.

What Other Jobs Require These Skills?

Most career paths related to Web Designer are career paths that take one of the important skills of being a well-rounded designer and focus far more heavily on specializing in those aspects of the design process. For example, Web Developers are more technically oriented and specialize in the programming of webpages. They will learn more elaborate programming languages and work on the more complex elements of programming a digital design, such as learning how to use Python and SQL for connecting to databases or learning how to build the back end infrastructure that keeps web pages operational.

One common specialization for Web Developers is in user experience design. UX Designers are a special subset of designers who focus on the tactile feel and responsiveness of a digital interface. These experts work to understand user behavior and to understand how a webpage can be designed with prospective user behavior in mind. Since this is a field that concerns human behavior, UX Designers spend far more time researching and interacting with consumers than any other form of Web Designer, so this is an ideal career path if you are interested in a more research-oriented career field. UX Designers will build prototypes of web applications and run them through practical testing sessions to find out how real-life users are reacting to these interfaces. This is an important part of the design process for ensuring that the interactive elements of a web design project are intuitive, accessible, and easy to navigate, which are essential qualities of an essential webpage or interface.

Learn the Skills to Become a Web Designer at Noble Desktop

Students looking to build the technical skills they need to become Web Designers may want to consider the options available to them for professional training and skills development through Noble Desktop. These classes provide students with live training from expert instructors and include hands-on training and practical experience using real-world design samples. These classes are available at Noble’s Manhattan Campus or through live online instruction. No matter the delivery method, class sizes are kept small so students won’t have to compete with one another for their instructor’s attention. As a bonus, every Noble course comes with a free retake option, meaning you can take the class again within a year. This is ideal for students who want to receive more instruction and for students who want more time to gain hands-on experience that they can parlay into better job opportunities.

Students interested in becoming professional Web Designers will need a lot of skills training. For novices, Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program that will teach students how to use common web design software applications, how to code their designs in basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and how to use WordPress for more advanced webpage design. In addition, students enrolled in this class will receive one-on-one career mentoring assistance and professional development seminars, including portfolio-building exercises. This is an ideal course for any student who wants to start a new career in the field of web design. Noble also offers more targeted programs, such as the UX/UI Design Certificate program, which prepares students to design interactive interfaces for digital applications and products. This focused career-program de-emphasizes the importance of learning to code and emphasizes the importance of tactile user experience design.

Students who have a measure of professional training and are seeking to expand their skills may want to instead consider enrolling in one of Noble’s skills bootcamps. For example, in Noble’s Figma Bootcamp, students will learn how to use Adobe’s Figma software application to build interactive prototypes of web designs in order to test their functionality before beginning the coding process. This is an invaluable tool for any Web Designer to know how to use, and in a bootcamp, you can focus on learning individual skills to improve your own career standing.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to find a job, Web Designers will need to be trained in a diverse range of skills, and these skills will include both technical training and soft skills.
  • Well-rounded Web Designers will need training in UI design tools, such as Figma, Adobe XD, or Sketch, and they will need to learn programming languages, graphic design tools, and general design philosophies.
  • Web Designers will also need to master soft skills related to deadline management, feedback, and creative design.
  • Students who want to learn the technical skills required for a career in web design will want to consider enrolling in one of Noble’s career-focused certificate programs. These courses are offered either in person at Noble’s Manhattan campus or in live online training seminars.